Something Awesome About February: My Life is a Disney Movie

The kids at the studio joke that I am a Disney princess.  If the singing, dancing, romance, adventure, and cute animal sidekicks are any indicators…they might be right.

Seth and I have been on a Disney movie kick for the past couple of months.  It’s been fun to pull out some of the movies that I haven’t watched in a while…Enchanted, Beauty & the Beast, Lady & the Tramp, Hercules (somebody call IXII!), The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Tangled.

There’s a part in Tangled where Rapunzel is singing about her morning routine and all the things that she crams into a morning.  Her little lizard sidekick Pasqal helps her out.  We were watching it and Seth laughed and said, “That’s how you are in the morning…”

tangledIn case you needed further proof…

halloween catHe helps me answer studio emails each morning:
pc morning helperHe helps me go through inventory…

caspian defiantHe helps me read my Bible…

prince caspian and bible 2He’s just an all-around helpful guy.

He and the little birds that help me get dressed each morning… 😉

I’m feeling very Olympic today…how about you?

Whether you are looking to get into the spirit of the 2014 Winter Olympics that begin this week, or you are just a movie geek like me, here are a few of my favorite winter Olympic movies to add to your queue…

#1: Cool Runnings.  Seth and I watched this movie over the weekend–it’s such a classic!  Believe it or not, I own it on VHS, so Seth had to hook up our VCR so that we could watch it.  Yes, kids…our VCR.  Anyway, I love this movie because it is a fun, family movie with lots of great lines and lessons in it.  I always cry at the end when they carry their sled across the finish line…such a good story!  Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time!

#2: The Cutting Edge.  Also starting at the 1988 Calgary games, this is a great Olympic chick flick about a hockey player and figure skater who team up…in more ways than one!  Strong personalities always lead to sparks, and eventually Doug and Kate learn to work together!

#3:  Miracle.  “Miracle” is about one of the most famous Olympic events ever–when the United States men’s ice hockey team faced off and won against the seemingly invincible Russian team.  It’s a very patriotic and moving movie!

What are some of your favorite Olympic movies?

Can Hollywood portray redemption?

The mister and I like to banter over which is better: live theater on a stage or the movies.  It makes for a lively discussion (and when I’m feeling mischievous and invite my Facebook friends to get involved, Seth will declare, “That’s not fair!  All your friends are theater and dance people!”), but the truth is that we love and respect both movies and the stage.  Both are integral parts of our lives and stories, and both can demonstrate that beautiful thing we call redemption.

I hear a lot of talk from fellow believers about how much Hollywood has gone down hill.  And it’s true.  There are a lot of movies that I would not watch, nor let my future children watch.  Seth and I love movies, so we carefully check out each flick before we watch it.  Many good Christian people have different movie standards than we do, and that’s fine.  We can still love one another and have different taste in movies.  But, I believe that Hollywood and the film industry are not gone yet.  There are still good movies that demonstrate amazing Christian values, and that’s what this post is about.

Five Movies That Show Redemption

#5:  Ben-Hur.  The 1959 film starring Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jewish prince who is wrongfully imprisoned in 26 A.D. is a classic!  Ben-Hur swears revenge on his enemies and pursues it with a vengeance until he encounters Jesus of Nazareth.  When he hears Jesus talk about forgiveness while hanging on the cross, Ben-Hur realizes that he needs to forgive his enemies as well.  He says, “I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand,” and finally relinquishes his hatred.

benhur

#4: Les Miserables.  Because who doesn’t like Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean?  I’m kidding.  Well, not really.  Les Mis is one of the greatest stories of redemption ever told, and I was so glad to see it win so many awards this past year.  In 18th century France, former criminal Jean Valjean is offered the chance to change his life forever.  He does and ends up changing many others’ lives along the way–some because he feels responsible, others just by being the man he was.  The movie demonstrates grace, forgiveness, and redemption on many different levels.  And it makes me glad that I did not live in France during the Revolution.

“Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes.”

#3: Schindler’s List.  Schindler’s List is the kind of movie that you only need to watch once because it gives you a startling perspective.  Oskar Schindler, a Gentile businessman in Nazi Germany, saved the lives of more than a thousand Jews by breaking the law to keep them working at his factories.  In a powerful scene at the end of the movie, Oskar Schindler is being thanked for what he has done by a crowd of those he has rescued.  The grateful Jews present him with a ring on the inside that has a saying from the Talmud inscribed on it: “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”  It begs the question…would we do that today?  Would we give the thing that is so precious to us to use to ransom the life of another?

A title card at the end of the film states that, at the time of the film’s release, there were fewer than 4,000 Jews in Poland.  But, there were over 6,000 descendants of the Schindler Jews throughout the entire world.  And that was 20 years ago!  Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.

schindler's list

#2: The Count of Monte Cristo.  I didn’t just put this closer to the top because it is one of my all-time favorite movies.  I put it at the top of the list because it is about a young, innocent, naïve man who is wrongfully imprisoned by his jealous “friends.”  He escapes, gets rich, and spends so much time exacting his revenge until he realizes that it’s not worth it.  The people he love are what matters.  One of my favorite quotes comes from a scene where the imprisoned Edmond Dantes is talking with another unfortunate:

Abbe Faria: Here is your final lesson – do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, “Vengeance is mine.”
Edmond Dantes: I don’t believe in God.
Abbe Faria: It doesn’t matter. He believes in you.

#1: The Lion King.  Don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me because I put an animated movie at the top of the list!  It was a movie that I thought did the lesson of redemption justice.  A son runs away from his destiny and then is forgiven by those he let down before coming back and facing his enemies.  And then his destiny.  (Insert epic music here.)  It’s the ultimate redemption story.

Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufasa!  Do it again. 😉

The_Lion_King_poster

Facebook Friends Suggested: When a Man Loves a Woman; The Shawshank Redemption; Up; Soul Surfer; Chasing Mavericks; Warm Bodies, Wreck It Ralph; #42; The Blind Side; Slow Fade; Groundhog Day; Jerry Maguire; Kings Faith; Kite Runner; It’s a Wonderful Life; Twins; 10 Things I Hate About You; Cinderella Man; The Princess Bride; Home Run; A Walk to Remember; The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Your turn, readers!  What movies accurately portray redemption?

Well Met [On What Makes Great Art]

dancer feet

There’s a reason why thousands of people have miniature prints of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night hanging in their homes or offices.  It’s the same reason why folks snuggle around the television at Christmastime to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or remember Mr. Darcy’s awful first proposal in Pride and Prejudice.  It’s why we can wonder at the countless numbers of men and women whose feet pounded the indented stone steps of the majestic Canterbury Cathedral in England, and how we can marvel at the goose bumps that trickle across our skin at the timpani-accompanied crescendo at the end of an orchestra piece.  That same reason why the most stoic of professors weeps at “The Dying Swan” ballet is also that same reason why I hold my breath when Sandi Patty belts our National Anthem.

It’s art.  True and real art is timeless.

It’s art.  True and real art is bold.

It’s art.  True and real art is raw.

Every generation has its beautiful artists.  The 16th century gave us Shakespeare who wrote in Twelfth Night, “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”  Mozart wrote his famous “Requiem” in the 18th century and left it’s ending forever a mystery to us.  Maya Angelou became the voice of modern day poetry in the late 20th century.

Every generation has its artists that challenge the status quo.  Picasso, Zora Neale Hurston, James Joyce, Arthur Miller…

But, I believe that true and real art includes more.

True art is respectful of life.  It doesn’t demean or diminish human life.

In his wonderful little book Scribbling in the Sand, Michael Card writes, “To this day we have not the slightest idea what it was Jesus twice scribbled in the sand. By and large the commentaries have asked the wrong question through the ages. They labor over the content, over what he might have written. They ask what, without ever realizing the real question is why? It was not the content that mattered but why he did it. Unexpected. Irritating. Creative.”

And that is one of the reasons I am an artist and a mentor to young artists.

True and real art–whether it is dancing, acting, painting, writing, singing, playing an instrument, or anything–changes the world.  It meets a need.  It answers a call.  And when you surrender that call to Christ and yield your will to Him, He can take that art and use it for His glory.

Frederick Buechner once wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Where does the passion and gladness of art meet the world’s deep hunger for you?

Our Indiana Jones Moment

Remember that “Yes Prayer” that I talked about in December?

Saying “yes” to what God is calling you to do requires a HUGE leap of faith.  As a dancer I leap all the time…at home, in the grocery store, at my old 9 to 5 job (they weren’t impressed, haha), at church, and—oh yeah—at the studio and on stage, too.  One of the differences between a jump and a leap is that a jump requires one movement to get into it and a leap requires a series of movements before the big, grand leap.  For instance, when you jump rope your feet stay together and just jump up and down.  When I do a grand jete (which is the move pictured above), I have to do a series of smaller movements to prepare my body to make that larger final leap.

If you’re a movie fan like me, you remember the famous scene in (more…)